From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

Hi everyone,

So whenever I prepare for my sermons and/or these blog posts, I usually look back at old sermons from the same Lectionary day from 3 years ago or 6 years ago or even 9 years ago if I’m feeling adventurous. It’s interesting to see what was happening all that time ago and what I talked about in those sermons (even if the sermon wasn’t particularly good).

It’s no surprise that 3 years ago I was talking about the pandemic. By then we were a few months in and still trying to figure things out. But it’s my sermon from 6 years ago that kicked me in the feels. See, 6 years ago is when my dad had his stroke that eventually took him away from us.

In a way, it feels a lot longer than 6 years ago, but at the same time I can’t believe it’s been 6 years already. I always knew that losing a parent would be hard, but I never thought that it would be as hard as it was for me, given how my relationship with my dad was. In reading that sermon from 6 years ago, I admit that my eyes got a bit weepy (emphasis on “a bit”, like barely misty… gotta keep up my macho-ness). But I got better.

I mean, I’m still sad that he’s gone, and I still miss him in my own weird way, but in general I’m a lot better than I was. I guess I should be after 6 years but I know that a large part of it was this community that I’m part of, this system of support that we share as God’s people, this kingdom of God that we’re all welcomed into.

I know it’s not some sort of magical thing that we are made better, it’s just a gift of grace… God’s grace, that allows us the strength and peace and joy in love that helps us in our times of need.

Here are the readings for next week:
Exodus 19:2-8a
Psalm 100

Romans 5:1-8
Matthew 9:35—10:23

If you read the sermon from 6 years ago that I linked up there, you’ll notice that for next week’s readings I’ve added in the optional verses out of the gospel lesson (Matthew 10:9-23), which I don’t normally do. Truth be told, I wasn’t going to add them this week either until I re-read my sermon and saw how they add to this theme of suffering producing hope.

Because we all suffer. We all have hard times. We all face hardship and troubles, and in that, through that, and in spite of that… we are given hope.

Hope that things can get better. Hope that we are not alone through it all and we will find healing. Hope that we are, always have been, and always will be loved.

I admit that it might not always seem that way, but it will. It might take 6 years or so, but it will. It might get worse before it gets better, but that is why the hope that we get is so strong. That whatever we go through, whatever hardships, whatever death might befall us, God remains true, present, and loving us with a grace beyond imagination.

Thanks be to God! Have a great week, everyone!

The featured image is a picture is of my dad taken by Jenn Best on June 16, 2007, my wedding day. It is one of his last genuine smiles captured before he passed away on July 9, 2017.